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Building Chords and Harmonic Movements out of the Ordinary by Adding Tension

If you want to spice up your composition, one way to do so is by adding tension notes to chords. This way, the harmonic movement throughout a song becomes much more unique and exciting.

Today, we will explore just that and present you some background information on the topic of chords and harmonic movement, and show you how to do this with Liquid Notes.

The basics of chords and harmonic movements

Basic chords consist of three notes which are most commonly stacked in intervals of thirds (4 to 6 half notes distance). Such chords with three notes are referred to as triads. They are perceived as consonant in slightly various degrees (little to no tension, as opposed to dissonant). Major and minor chords belong to the class of triads. C major and C minor chords are made up of the notes C-E-G and C-Eb-G, respectively.

Chords can be augmented with "tension" to create more dissonance. Tension notes are additional notes in dissonant relation to the bass note. So an additional B note on top of a C major chord would result in a C major 7 chord (C-E-G-B), which has more dissonant sound color.
Taken to higher extremes, tension can even be built by stacking another basic (or even tensioned) chord on top of another, e.g. A major over C minor (C-Eb-G+A-C#-E), which will result in a rather extreme dissonant sound because no two notes of the six are the same or stacked in an octave (12 half tones distance, which is an almost perfectly consonant interval). This is an advanced method usually found in jazz music.
For more information about tension, please read this article about chords and tensions on Wikipedia.

Liquid Notes allows you to add (take away) tension notes to (from) chords by turning the respective chord controllers left and right instead of sliding them up and down. Color codes at the upper ends of the chord fields indicate the degree of dissonance, from green (rather consonant) to red (very dissonant). If you add tension to already complicated chords (or diminish it), Liquid Notes takes care of the intricate details with all the instrumental voices in the arrangement. Simply listen and choose.

Changes of chord names show above the tension color code.

Please watch the video to learn more about the tension mode and to listen to music samples demonstrating chord tension!

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